According to Oxford Dictionary, a cult classic is typically a book or movie “that is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society.” That doesn’t really narrow it down, though. In his article “What makes a cult film?” Ian Haigh of BBC News breaks the cult classic subgenre down even further. Haigh says that cult classics can be from the “so-bad-they’re-good” group, or the self-referential group, or, the most popular group, films that flopped when they were released. Those particular films can sometimes find an audience years later, thus, a cult classic is born.
Ron Underwood’s “Tremors” (1990) was only a modest success at the box office, but gained in popularity when it was released on VHS, and then later on DVD and the Internet. In “Tremors,” handymen Earl (Fred Ward) and Val (Kevin Bacon) are trying to leave Perfection, a fictional desert town. Unfortunately for them, college student Rhonda (Finn Carter) picks up on some strange seismic vibrations in the town; vibrations that keep Earl and Val from leaving. They soon discover a herd of huge, subterranean worms are hunting the inhabitants of Perfection.
The worms can sense vibrations on the ground above them, that’s how they locate their prey. This creates an interesting conflict for Earl, Val, Rhonda and the others as they have to figure out how to escape Perfection while not touching the ground – this should illicit a sense of nostalgia for anyone who played “The Floor is Lava” game as a kid.
Reba McEntire and Michael Gross make the already great cast a thing of perfection – get it? – as gun-slinging couple Heather and Burt. The scene of Heather and Burt taking down a worm utilizing their wall of ridiculously large guns is a show-stealer. The cast definitely makes the movie a hit.
The worms aren’t bad, either, I guess. The worms, or Graboids, are entirely practical effects and puppetry, which makes them even more impressive and fun to watch. I can always appreciate the work of SFX makeup artists, especially the one who make awesomely disgusting monsters.
Overall, this is a very fun movie to watch. If you haven’t seen it yet, you are missing out. It may not be an Oscar-worthy film, but it will absolutely entertain you. I suggest grabbing some beer, a pizza, and some friends for this one.
You can watch my review of “Tremors” below.